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Is there such a thing as controlled gambling?

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#1 Posted on:
Sat, 14/10/2017 - 01:39



For me there isn't. I will gamble all the cash I have accessible to me. If I walk into the casino, and start losing money, I will do everything to get it back, chasing losses, use all of my funds to do it, if it thousands, so be it. Go into my overdraft, then into credit cards. No control.

Are there really people who practice "controlled gambling"? Place a bet, lose it, and go, "oh shucks, maybe I will have better luck next time".

Posted on:
Sat, 14/10/2017 - 04:00



Can some control how much drugs they take? Or how much beer they drink? Obviously the answer is yes.  But if you ask the question can an addict control their addiction the answer is no. 


Posted on:
Sat, 14/10/2017 - 14:08




"Are there really people who practice "controlled gambling"? Place a bet, lose it, and go, "oh shucks, maybe I will have better luck next time"

Yes. They are non-compulsive gamblers who view gambling as a bit of entertainment and nothing more. 

My brother, who is a CG, finds this impossible to comprehend, that most people (myself included) are like this. For example, not recently, but a few years ago I would buy a scratch card every now and then when I got petrol, perhaps once or twice a month. Mostly I lost and thought nothing more of it. Sometimes I won a £1, sometimes £2.  Once I even won £40. After a few months I got bored of them and just stopped buying them.

Compare this to my brother. He would send one of his helpers (he's a builder) off to the shop with £200 cash with instructions to get £200 worth of scratch cards. He'd then spend the next hour scratching them all, making a pile of those that won. The helper would be sent back to the shop with those winners to cash them in for ...guess what... more scratch cards. He'd keep doing that until either 

a)he ran out of money (most likely)

b) the shop refused to sell any more

c) the helper refused to do it anymore

He'd try to arrange the job so that he got paid daily, and then this was a daily routine. Helpers often quit, until he found one who was himself a CG. You can imagine how much work got done.

This, combined with daily visits to betting shops, and playing roulette on his phone, is what led to him being in huge, unmanageable debt (£80k) losing his wife and any right to see his kids homelessness, and several suicide attempts.

I've only ever been inside a betting shop twice in my life. Once to give something to my brother (long before I realised he had a serious problem) and I was surprised at what a dingy, depressing place it was. The second time, years later, was because I saw someone I knew as I walked passed, and so stopped to talk to him while he was playing a fobt.

Once on holiday, the resort we were staying at had a casino. Me and my wife had about £130 left over in local currency on the last night, so we went. We had great fun! Never been in one before, so we played loads of games. Slots, roulette and others. Midnight came around, and time to leave (early flight next day) we counted up and we had £160, so were £30 up. That was a nice surprise. That was 15 years ago, and we've never been to one since.

I've always viewed gambling as a bit of fun, a (quite expensive) form of entertainment. Something to do very occasionally on a whim. Every now and then, my wife puts £10 on a bingo site and plays for a few weeks, then gets bored with it. On average she spends about £30 per year.

My work organised a charity race day recently, and I went. I didn't have a clue how the betting worked, so I just bet £1 or so on every race for the fun of it. I chose horses because I liked their names. I lost 5 and won 1, think I ended up £7 in profit. 

I noticed that a few of my work mates were either compulsive gamblers, or well on the way. 

There was a stark difference between those (like me) who just played for a bit of fun, and those who bet big and were shaking with anxiety during the race. Of course, because of my brother, I know what I'm looking at. Most others didn't notice.

My brother could never gamble the way I do, just for fun. Win or lose he can't stop. If he wins, he thinks "I can do that again and double my money" if he loses he thinks "I need to get that money back". He only stops when he's forced to by running out of money. I think it's a familiar pattern.

Posted on:
Sat, 14/10/2017 - 17:39



Hi leevoltaire.

It becomes a loaded question on a recovery website. I am a compulsive gambler on machines. There will never be any control even if I wanted to do it again...which I dont.

There are different triggers and you could have called me a controlled gambler on the lottery for example. I was not interested in scratch cards so you could call that ultimate control. Horses and dogs dont interest me because I find the events wash over me as boring. maybe boring is the wrong word but I could never get a connection with the event that would lead me to put money down...too much like real gambling if you get me and the risks were clear to real possibility of trance escape.

However once you realise a gambling addiction has got under your skin abstinence is the only way backed up by blocks.

The trouble with the argument that joe could have one bet and a cup of tea in the bookies is that it plays right onto the hands of the gambling industry and clouds the issue here.

Forms of gambling are set up to be addictive and its no wonder addiction develops. There is also the fact that escape gambling is a stress substitute in the short term. It substitutes worries about life for a concentrated fix of dopamine surges. I liken my playing to a shot in the vein when I was anxious or depressed. It was not really about the money even though the money was part of it.

I detest what gambling did to me so I am firmly anto gambling. I can see how they are selling dreams and taxing the hopes of the poor. The winners are the casino owners and owners of the lottery...they cant lose with the scheme they have set up.

The owners of the machines dont lose because the percentage rate ensures that and the machine is full of other punters money. I fail to see how something can be legal that gave me thoughts of suicide but of course the opposing argument is that I should have had some control.

Best wishes from everyone on the forum

Posted on:
Sat, 14/10/2017 - 23:34



I think the majority of people who gamble do so in a controlled way and are able to walk away. 

I was one of them until 4 months ago. I used to go to the horses perhaps once a year on average and we would bet £5 on each race so maybe a total of £40. We could afford it and sometimes we won a little and sometimes we lost the lot. I just considered it part of the day's entertainment just like the cost of the entrance ticket and any food/drinks we bought. Never left thinking I had to rush back to win my money back.

Similarly been in casinos a few times on holidays and agreed a stake of say £50. Usually stayed until we lost it or occasionally won a couple £100s and left immediately and treated ourselves to a nice meal or something. Seem to remember the last time I played on a physical roulette table I actually got bored after 30 mins or so and left with most of my stake. Went to Vegas years ago and the slots bored me stupid.

Contrast this to my behaviour once I got involved in online gambling and I almost immediately started playing in an uncontrolled way - chasing losses, gambling money I did not have to gamble, never stopping regardless of how much I was up and carrying on until I lost it all again. All classic compulsive gambling traits.

I do wonder how I would behave in a physical casino now but not something I am going to put to the test.

Posted on:
Thu, 25/01/2018 - 15:34



I think that the statistics are off on what percentage of gamblers are compulsive vs. doing it for entertainment.  Many people play without players club cards so the casinos never knows about their patterns of play.  AND the machines are designed to create a zone there people will play to extinction.  There is a lot more to the design than numbers and chance.  The mezmorizing zone effect is created and built into the entire experience ... there are intellegent but not very humane people behind the industry design.  tara2

Posted on:
Wed, 07/02/2018 - 16:56



I know this may go against the grain but I am usually always in control when I place the first bet of the day so ineffect I am a controlled gambler who then after almost always loses control especially if i have a near miss situation.

Posted on:
Sat, 10/02/2018 - 16:50



Many say they can do controlled gambling.  Who am I to argue what they believe.  However its also true to say that compulsive gambling is classified as an addiction.  So whilst many can gamble in a controlled manner, a few of us can't.  What was missing in my case was the honesty and understanding to recognise this.

Posted on:
Fri, 23/02/2018 - 19:17



For a pro gambler, maybe... I will just talk about myself. It is very hard to control when you gamble. That's why I don't gamble anymore and am now living with the consequences gambling gave me.

Posted on:
Fri, 23/02/2018 - 19:42



Yeah I've had friends that have gone to the casino with me with £10 made it last an hour and if they got to £20 that's it they were done for the night and we'll chuffed in doubling their money, and say something like I'm not gambling anymore that's a free bus to work for the rest of the week! I've heard them say they don't like gambling that they can't bare the thought of wasting £10 that quickly on nothing when it takes them 1-2hours to work to earn it. Which kinda makes perfect sense and I wish I had that attitude too.
It would be a girls night or a birthday they would have 30quid to spend 20 on food 10 to gamble for entertainment n pass the time. This is one friend in particular that I'm thinking about and she did live in a way where she budgeted almost everything.

My dad will do football bets every Saturday and he I would say was controlled, its his Saturday thing. Amount he bets always stays the same each week n he has that 10-20 going spare.

My grandad has put on horse bets for years once or twice a week. He only puts on the odd couple of quid a go. I would say that was controlled too.

They seem to somehow be able to not care when they lose. Don't chase it and raise the stakes. Just slow n steady bit of fun.